Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fifth Annual Teapot Show @ Craftsman House

As Jeff Schorr, the owner of Craftsman House explained to me, the humble tea pot embodies four basic pottery-making skills: Making the pot, fashioning and affixing the handle and spout, and a tight-fitting lid.

 The serving of tea has been ritualized to varying degrees in many cultures, and the tea pot, along with cups and saucers, etc., is a central part of that. A lot enters into making a teapot. It needs to be well-balanced ergonomically, and stable when set down. The spout has to be of sufficient length, the right angle, not dribble in use and when done right, enable the user to pour tea gracefully -- and sometimes transcend craft and enter the realm of art.

Most of the pots in this show are functional, some are more on the sculptural side.

Tea Pot and altered cup by Peter Karner. This Colorado artist works with high-fire reduction pottery. He draws influences from nature where he lives, earlier pottery, and Islamic and Japanese calligraphy.

Jennifer Allen, Tea Pots, Gravy boat, cups and plates made of  celadon, which is a type of glaze invented in ancient China, that is transparent and often with cracks of different sizes and frequency. By the 13th century, it had become widespread and highly valued. There are variations, notably Korean celadon, known as Saggam. Note the little pagoda lids and Chinese floral notifs on the tea pots, the delicate and functional curves of the gravy boat, and pinched handles on the plate. The artist says her work "...honors and enhances the rhythms of home life." Contemplative moments made both "physically and psychologically nourishing". The work is in porcelain, and "informed by the craft of a seamstress" with the analogs of pleats and other qualities of cloth as well as the natural forms she experienced living in Alaska, Montana and W. Virginia.

Here's a view from the opposite side of one Ms. Allen's teapots and one cup.

Susan Filley (l.-to-r.)  "Saucy, Dancing, and Jewel"
teapots. Here's a nice studio picture of Dancing Teapot [Link].  These are dynamic, very form-oriented designs, not signifiers of status and power. They're characters, rich with style, humor  and formal charisma.  Made in porcelain, and have a certain combination of translucence and reflective qualities that is enchanting.

 Kate Harward, "Shino Tea Pot and Bowls". Shino is  a type of Japanese glaze tha can run from milky white to what we see here, with lots of variations.
The glaze was re-developed in Japan in the '40s, and independently in the US in 1974. [Link]

Amelia Stamps, "Mini Teapots". Endearing miniature teapots, strictly scultpural. 

Suzanne Crane, "Tusk Teapot". A beautiful and rich design in a functional teapot, with natural themes of leaves, scales and tusks. One of my personal favorites in this show.

Congratulations to Jeff and Steff at Craftsman House for a delightful show. The Teapot Show will be up through June 26th at Craftsman House, 2955 Central Avenue, St Petersburg. [Link]. Treat yourself to the Cafe while you're there.

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